As we write this post, we are praying for everyone caught in the violence in Ukraine. So many of us are praying for God to give His wisdom to our world leaders. Beyond Ukraine, there are so many places where people made in the image of God—all of us—are living through daily violence due to war, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and human rights abuses. Places like Afghanistan, Myanmar, Yemen, and many others throughout the world need peace.
Jesus was giving His most famous sermon when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” We don’t have to just long for peace; it’s actually something God has given us power to create. In this post, we’re going to focus on one way we can follow Jesus and make peace: prayer.
If you’re interested in additional ways to pursue peace, you’ll love this podcast series about seeking justice.
When crisis happens, it’s easiest to do everything except make peace. We’re tempted to believe the situation is completely out of our hands. We’re tempted to scroll, and scroll, and swipe, and click into more information than we could ever act on. We’re tempted to repeat and retweet the scariest information we find. We’re tempted to downplay the situation or overlook it altogether. And finally, we’re tempted to post thoughts and prayers without really praying, or giving our time and resources to create peace.
So how we do follow Jesus’ lead in making peace in the midst of crisis? There are three ways Jesus prayed that can guide us as we become peacemakers. Let’s pray Jesus’ prayers for our hearts, for our world leaders, and for those in harm’s way. Below, you’ll find three prayers that you can pray as-is or make your own.
1. Jesus prayed for mercy.
Jesus was experiencing the greatest crisis of His life. He was being executed by the hands of the government at the request of religious leaders, and He used some of His last words to pray, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Who was the “them”? As Jesus followers, we believe Jesus gave His life for all of us. He was asking the Father to forgive all of us. In situations where it seems obvious who the perpetrator and victims are, it is easy to take sides in our thoughts, posts, and prayers. But instead, we can pray for God to preserve life, protect innocence, and bring peace to all of His creation.
Here’s a prayer for mercy.
God, You are a God of mercy. Before I ever decided to live for You, You sent Jesus, full of mercy and grace for me. We are asking You to show mercy and to preserve life in every region of this crisis. We are asking for You to soften the hearts of leaders and bring them to compassionate justice. Please give world leaders Your wisdom. Have mercy on all of us. Amen.
2. Jesus prayed and provided.
Whether He was bringing healing to physical illness or food to hungry travelers, Jesus prayed and provided. As we follow the ways of Jesus, we can pray for peace while taking steps to seek it. You might give resources, time, or expertise to an organization that’s providing assistance to refugees and victims of war. Life.Church has Global Mission Partners around the world who respond immediately in times of crisis and stay to pursue restoration.
Here’s a prayer for compassionate action.
God, You are the Maker of justice and peace. Please intervene in this crisis. Please send people with hearts full of compassion to provide relief and restoration to this community. Please bless the organizations providing food, water, shelter, and medical attention. Please guide me to specific ways I can live out the love of Christ to people who are hurting. Amen.
3. Jesus prayed on earth as it is in heaven.
During the same sermon we mentioned above, Jesus took a moment to teach His followers a model for prayer. You may have heard it called The Lord’s Prayer. Here’s a line to really think about as you pray: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus was praying that God’s grace, mercy, peace, justice, goodness, and love would reign on earth.
As you pray for war, crisis, and injustice to end, find hope and strength in this beautiful prayer from Jesus. Here it is from Matthew 6:9-13, in The Message version.
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.